Orroroo community collective showcases local talents

The new shop in the centre of town has become a popular stop for both locals and visitors to the tiny town on the edge of the Flinders Ranges.

Jun 24, 2022, updated Nov 14, 2022
The smell of fresh bread and bakery treats made by Gaye Kuerschner (left) from the Black Rock Kitchen bakery at 5431 Collective is proving irresistible to locals and tourists. Photo: Alysha Sparks.

The smell of fresh bread and bakery treats made by Gaye Kuerschner (left) from the Black Rock Kitchen bakery at 5431 Collective is proving irresistible to locals and tourists. Photo: Alysha Sparks.

There is a line up outside Orroroo’s newest shopping experience, with the waft of fresh bread and sticky buns enticing both locals and visitors in from the cold.

Inside 5431 Collective, there is chatter and stories shared, a community hub and the work of local creatives for sale.

Earrings, candles, kangaroo leather goods, fashion, art, food, toys, and especially good old-fashioned service and a place to gather.

The not-for-profit collective has brought new life into Orroroo’s main street – 275 km north of Adelaide on the doorstep of the Flinders Ranges.

The collective has ever-changing pods of goods by local designers and makers. Photo: Miss Mary Photography.

Behind it all is a group of local women who wanted to create a space where the community can “connect, collaborate and create” for everyone to enjoy.

Fiona Dignan, Kate Pearce, Lisa Slade, Marge Chapman and Gaye Kuerschner lead the management committee.

They all have busy, professional lives outside of the collective, and with children and grandkids to run after, but their passion for community is their driving force.

“It has exceeded all expectations since opening on March 13,” Fiona said.

“Everyone involved has been surprised, I don’t think we were expecting it to be as successful as it has been.

“The locals all know the baking days, there’s always a line up when the doors open and they often pick up something else to buy from the creative pods while they’re there.

“Word of mouth has drawn lots of travellers in too, and the tourists think it’s delightful and are keen to know the stories behind each of the pods.”

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The faces behind the not-for-profit 5431 Collective in Orroroo, Kate Pearce, Gaye Kuerschner, Fiona Dignan, Lisa Slade and Marge Chapman. Photo Alysha Sparks.

Helping get the collective off the ground, the management group secured Australian Government Tackling Tough Times and Stronger Communities grants.

The space is also the base for Orroroo’s outpost of PIRSA’s South Australian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, creating a meeting point and information base for locals who have been doing it tough through the drought.

And there are big plans for the little, rejuvenated corner store that has its own story to tell about its past lives as a general store, fuel and fodder agency, grocer and ironmonger, newsagency and clothing store.

“With the early success, we’re really motivated to keep it going, keep changing it up with different pods regularly and our next focus is to really push that community hub,” Fiona said.

“We’re going to be engaging Orroroo Community School to see if we can have regular school enterprise goods for sale in here, whether it’s student woodwork, produce from the veggie patch or whatever fits with the curriculum at the time.

“We’ve also been successful in securing some seniors grants to subsidise, or offer for free, workshops like propagation and bush foods, clay, painting, and wicking bed preparation.

“And hopefully in the spring we can start developing the outdoor space to be able to host small community workshops and events out the back.

“We’ve got lots of ideas to just keep complementing all the great things that are already available in Orroroo, and bringing in new things for locals and tourists to enjoy.”

The 5431 Collective at 7 Second St, Orroroo, is open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Keep an eye on the collective’s Facebook page for updated opening times, as well as upcoming events and to see the latest creative pods in store.

This story is proudly brought to you by Solstice Media as the winner of the People’s Choice Award which is part of the Regional Showcase 2022 program, run by Solstice Media.

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